Sometimes a restaurant comes along that does things a bit different than everywhere else in town. And in the South Coast community of Swansea, Massachusetts, that place is Black Salt.
Opened in November 2022, Black Salt is a family-owned spot where siblings Tania Novo and Joshua Conceicao are serving their twist on American Bistro fare in an area known more for affordable pub grub.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “There’s no restaurant like this anywhere at least not that I can find around here. We tried to make something different that nobody has locally.”
Joshua Conceicao – Owner, Black Salt: “When we started opening up, a lot of people were interested and happy that there was going to be that one a little bit higher establishment type of restaurant. Just another thing to be proud of.”
And the food coming out of Chef Chris Baccelli’s kitchen features flavors from around the country and all over the world.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “It’s a little bit of everything. We have a little bit of Asian inspired dishes, little bit of Portuguese inspired dishes. Things that you’ll just find anything that you’d like on our menu.”
It’s all served in an 85-seat spot with lots of natural light, warm woods, and local art.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “People just love the look of it. They love the feel of it. It’s homey. We didn’t want it to be cold. We want it to be like how we are. We’re warm and homey and we wanted our customers to enjoy that as well.”
Tania and Josh grew up in the restaurant business, and working for others all those years gave them a great perspective for the kind of place they wanted to create when they finally got the chance.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “I’ve been in the industry for a very long time. Since I was 12 years old. So I’ve always been passionate about it. And I love to see people happy and I love seeing people eat and enjoy their meal. So I wanted to work for myself and kind of put out the food that I enjoy, the food that I would give to my children, the food that I would want my friends and family to enjoy. And that’s why we opened.”
The appetizers at Black Salt feature plenty of international flavors, like the Italian inspired Fried Burrata.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “It’s a light batter, we fry it and then we put it over homemade marinara sauce, garlic bread. So when you cut into that burrata, all of the juiciness and goodness comes right out of that cheese, which is just delightful. Anybody that likes cheese is gonna like the burrata.”
For some shellfish with a Portuguese twist there are Mussels simmered in house-made Mozambique sauce.
Joshua Conceicao – Owner, Black Salt: “We introduced a little bit of a saffron seasoning, a little Goya, we get our chorizo locally. There’s so much flavor as you’re tasting that sauce. You’re going to enjoy it. You’re going to love it. You’re gonna ask for extra bread, you’re going to dip into that sauce.”
But the top selling app here, by far, is the Fried Calamari with bok choy, roasted peanuts, hot peppers, and a spicy Asian chili glaze.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “So you have the crunch from the peanut, a little bit of sesame seeds, the bok choy, which is like, oh, a surprise, what’s that green that I’m eating? It’s delicious. It’s lightly fried so it’s not such a thick batter. And then you taste the calamari with an Asian sauce over it. It’s not the traditional everyday calamari that you get everywhere else.”
Black Salt is open for lunch and dinner daily. If you stop by in the afternoon, their signature Bacon Cheeseburger is a good choice; and their enormous Southern-Style Fried Chicken Sandwich with hot honey is even better.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “The chicken is just such a massive piece of chicken. We don’t skimp on that. So a lot of times people use a fork and a knife to cut that because it’s just such a big piece of chicken.”
Entrees at Black Salt are hearty, affordable, and flavorful, from the 14-ounce Rib Eye topped with roasted garlic butter, to the tender braised Short Rib in a red wine reduction.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “You don’t even need a knife to cut that. You just put the fork right in it melts in your mouth. It’s delicious. It comes over mashed potatoes and your choice of vegetable. I love carrots. So I always get it with carrots. Just the most amazing homey meal. It’s cold out and you want something just to warm your soul, the short rib is the way to go.”
For something a little lighter, there’s an outstanding Grilled Salmon.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “The salmon has been our number one seller since we first opened. It’s a nice grilled salmon, they cook it to medium, and they make their own kind of style of a fried rice. It has pineapple, coconut, a little bit onions, peppers in that, and they put a little bit of coconut milk as well in there, coconut shavings to top it all off. Deliciousness.”
If you’re in the mood for pasta, there are pillowy Lobster Ravioli available two ways; in either a garlic, butter, sherry wine sauce, or tossed in a luxurious house made pink cream sauce.
But for a dish that’s true labor of love, you simply must order the Pasta Bolognese.
Joshua Conceicao – Owner, Black Salt: “That ragu, it’s a two day tradition here. Pork, beef, homemade. You cannot go wrong. It’s going to melt in your mouth. We pair it with a radiatore pasta. You’re going to feel like you just had a warm cooked meal by your mom, you’re home, you’re going to enjoy yourself, you’re going to nap like a king.”
But before you doze off, make sure to get a taste of Black Salt’s Bread Pudding, made with Portuguese sweetbread.
Tania Novo – Owner, Black Salt: “Sweetbread Bread Pudding, chocolate chips, homemade butter rum sauce, and homemade RumChata whipped cream. It comes out. It’s nice and warm. He puts ice cream on it. It’s so delicious. It’s a great homey meal just to fill you up at the end.”
And for this brother and sister, there’s just nothing better than being able to serve their community, in a place they can call their own.
Joshua Conceicao – Owner, Black Salt: “It’s very proudful for everyone involved in my family, not just my sister and I. We’ve all we’ve all been touched by the restaurant industry. With that being said, we can finally call it our own you know. It’s ours. And there’s nothing better than just having your own spot and working for yourself.”